Brayden Denton died on May 8, 2014 after a serious battle with a rare brain tumor. The five-year-old cancer victim loved superheroes, especially Spider-Man. Brayden had an unusual superhero sendoff with his favorite characters serving as pallbearers. The little hero was buried with the help of Superman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Batman and his all time favorite, Spider-Man.
Brayden’s mother, Staci Denton, said she could not think of a better sendoff for her son other than to surround him with heroes that he loved so very much. She said as they were carrying him she could imagine him “up there” saying, “This is so cool!” According to his mother, that is just the way he would have wanted it because that was his world.
Cory, Brayden’s uncle, said it was hard but he dressed as Thor for his nephew. He watched all of the Iron Man movies with his nephew. They also saw the Superman movie together; Brayden even wore a Superman outfit to the theater to honor his superhero.
Staci said originally her son was only into Spider-Man but as he started collecting more superhero action figures his appreciate for all of them grew. His mom said he had to stop just liking Spider-Man because they all worked together so eventually he liked every superhero.
This five-year-old child had been battling an aggressive, but rare, form of cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) since April 2013. According to Staci, Brayden endured 30 rounds of radiation treatment. This cancer, which strikes children, usually kills its victim within 18 months of the diagnosis.
DIPG is a tumor lodged in the middle of the brain stem. The brain stem connects the spinal cord with the cerebrum and is the bottom most portion of the brain. The majority of brain stem tumors cannot be surgically removed because this type of tumor grows among the nerves. The brain stem contains all of the “wires” converging from the brain to the spinal cord as well as important structures involved in face and throat muscle control and sensation, as well as eye movements.
At this time researchers do not know what causes DIPG. There is no one to blame when a child develops a tumor and no way to predict that a child will get a brain tumor. However, it is always a very serious matter.
Throughout the entire process Brayden never lost his love for superheroes. Because of his love for Spider-Man he received a Spider-Man cake for his third and fourth birthdays. Three months ago, for his fifth birthday, his family celebrated with an enormous superhero cake. Brayden lost his fight after 13 months; he died at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
This five-year-old cancer victim loved superheroes, with a special admiration for Spider-Man. He died on May 8, 2014 after an aggressive battle with DIPG. Brayden had an unusual superhero sendoff with his favorite characters serving as pallbearers. The little hero was laid to rest with the help of Superman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Batman and his all time favorite, Spider Man.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)